COVID-19 Amplifies Focus on the Cost of Care

By Carolyn LaWell


Healthcare providers face tremendous costs caring for patients with COVID-19, while simultaneously losing significant revenue due to the postponement of elective procedures. The current environment will require providers and surgeons to reassess where care is delivered and its associated costs, once procedures ramp up again.

“I hope that this situation results in equivalent care at much cheaper costs,” said Peter Althausen, M.D., a trauma surgeon at Reno Orthopedic Clinic and Chair of The Orthopaedic Implant Company (OIC).

We spoke with Dr. Althausen about his experience treating trauma patients and OIC’s approach to business during COVID-19. Two trends emerged from the discussion: one, a shift of orthopedic surgeries to ambulatory surgical centers, and two, scrutiny over implant utilization.

“If we can keep people who aren’t sick out of hospitals and treat them with reasonably priced implants in a safe outpatient surgery with low infection rate and musculoskeletal-driven care, outcomes should be better, and they should be cheaper,” he said. “Whether it’s a high-value implant or a high-value care delivery, that’s what we’re looking for.”

Dr. Althausen noted that there’s no timeline yet for the return of elective procedures in Reno. However, his surgery center and the city’s five hospitals are planning to perform surgery seven days a week, once the ban is lifted.


Carolyn LaWell is ORTHOWORLD's Chief Content Officer.

Tags: Care Delivery